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Description of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Explanation.

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Definition Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Description.


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality type model which measures psychological preferences of people concerning how they perceive the world and make decisions. The MBTI assessment was derived from psychologist Carl Jung's theory of psychological types (1920s). It was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers during World War II.


In an MBTI test, certain preferred psychological preferences of managers / employees / students / people are placed on 4 dichotomies:

  1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)E / I dichotomy of MBTI

    • Measures a psychological attitude: is a person's favorite world (source of ENERGY) INTERNAL or EXTERNAL?
    • E - Extraverts try things out (action oriented). They trust, focus on, and get energy from the outer world of people, seek breadth of knowledge and influence, prefer frequent interaction.
    • I - Introverts think things through (thought oriented). They trust, focus on and get energy from the inner world of ideas, seek depth of knowledge and influence, prefer substantial interaction.
  2. S / N dichotomy of MBTI

    • Measures a psychological function: does a person have a preference for INFORMATION or for PERCEIVING?
    • S - Sensors are practical, detail-oriented. They trust and focus on tangible, concrete, measurable facts and procedures.
    • N - Intuitors are imaginative, concept-oriented. They trust and focus on intangible, abstract, theoretical, unconscious insights, meanings and possibilities.
  3. T / F dichotomy of MBTI

    • Measures a psychological function: what is a person's preference for DECISION-MAKING (JUDGING)?
    • T - Thinkers decide from a detached, skeptical standpoint. They prefer to make decisions based on reason, logic, causality, consistency and rules.
    • F - Feelers are appreciative, associating or empathizing. They tend to make decisions based on personal, humanistic considerations, inner balance, harmony, consensus.
  4. J / P dichotomy of MBTI

    • Measures the psychological LIFESTYLE preference people have for either their perceiving function (2. S/N - sensing or intuition) or for their judging function (3. T /F - thinking or feeling) when they are relating to the outside world (extraversion).
    • J - Judgers have preference to show their preferred (dominant) judging function (thinking or feeling).
    • P - Perceivers have a preference to show their preferred (dominant) perceiving function (sensing or intuition).

The MBTI type preferences can be combined to form 16 different personalities / learning style types. For example, one manager may be an ISTJ (Intravert, Sensor, Thinker, Perceiver) and another may be an ENFJ (Extravert, iNtuitor, Feeler, Judger).


In academic circles the opinion of MBTI is low and it the model is often dismissed as commercial or pseudo-psychology. The MBTI can be seen as an example of Trait Leadership Theory.


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